The number of food hygiene written warnings issued to businesses in the UK increased slightly in 2017/18 compared to a year earlier, the latest figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) show.
According to the organisation’s data, 150,539 establishments received written warnings in 2017/18, up from the 146,717 issued in 2016/17.
The number of establishments to receive food hygiene improvement notices issued fell, however. These were down to 2,941 from 3,198 a year earlier. The vast majority of these (2,720) were issued to businesses in England, the FSA revealed.
There are a number of food hygiene enforcement actions that the authorities can take, including a simple caution, hygiene emergency prohibition notice and the suspension or revocation of approval or a licence. Fewer establishments underwent these particular enforcements last year.
However, there was a slight rise in the number of premises subject to remedial action and detention notices, and to hygiene prohibition orders.
While these figures might seem high, it’s important to remember just how many food outlets we have across the UK. The FSA pointed out that 90.2 per cent of food establishments are generally satisfactory or better.
It never hurts to refresh your food hygiene training in the UK, and to ensure that all of your staff are regularly updating their skills and knowledge. It’s also vital that any new members of your team receive the appropriate training, especially if they’ve never worked somewhere that produces or serves food before.
The need to update your training could become even more pressing once the UK leaves the EU, with calls recently for the government to clarify its position on food safety post-Brexit.